War Of Words Ensues After Churchgoers Flock To Mass Rosary Prayer


Last Saturday thousands of people from Lower Silesia gathered at churches near the Czech border as part of the nationwide Różaniec do Granic campaign, sparking heated debate across Poland. 

As we revealed last Friday, the mass rosary was organised in order to "pray for Poland's salvation" and commemorate Europe's victory over "Islamisation". 

Poland's Conservative and Catholic media hugely praised the rosary prayer, claiming it be "a great success" that could "only happen in Poland". Among those to champion the event was the staunchly Catholic website fronda.pl, which recently thanked Saint Hubertus for guiding Poland to World Cup qualification

Some of the country's liberal media outlets predictably responded in an altogether different manner, reffering the event as an anti-migrant protest that broadcast a desire to isolate the country from the world.

The organisers claim over 1 million people took part in the event, which was financially supported by a number of tax-payer funded companies and organisations. State owned train company PolRegio also helped bolster the numbers by offering 1zł return tickets to participating churches located on their routes.

The idea for the mass rosary was born in the summer, when organiser Maciej Bodasiński told pch24.pl "The aim is to surround Poland with prayer…for Poland and the whole world."

In the same interview Bodasiński also spoke of the need for Poland to turn to Catholicism as way of defending against "Islamisation and the Islamic terrorist attacks, and the increasingly visible departure of the West from its Christian roots."

More recently, Maciej Bodasiński was quoted as saying "recent events in the country have made it even clearer that we need the help of the Creator, who is the only true guarantor of love, unity and peace." In the run-up to Saturday's prayer he had also spoken of threats from Europe and Russia.

According to Gazeta Wyborcza, some 6,500 people took part in the mass rosaries organised by the Czech border in Lower Silesia (the figure was taken from the number of church registrations).

Last Saturday a journalist from the same paper boarded one of the coaches in Wrocław bound for the rosary prayer. In his report he talked of how those taking part felt it was "god's protective umbrella" that kept the sun shining during the prayer at 2pm. Then on the return trip home, when a rainbow emerged in the sky after the rain-clouds had given way for sunshine, a local vicar reportedly proclaimed "Our prayers have been answered!"

Elsewhere in Poland, rosary prayers took place at 3 major airports – Warsaw Chopin, Katowice and Poznan. The most dramatic pictures of the event where nonetheless reserved for the Baltic coast, where thousands amassed on the beaches to pray, some of whom lined the shore with their backs to the sea. 

Conservative Catholocists and nationalists saw the images as a powerful expression of Poland's dedication to its primary faith. However some others saw it as a gesture of isolation and a sign that the country was turning its back to the world. 

Some of those in the latter camp may have shared the photo-shopped image below, which shows the rosary prayer participants standing with their backs to a refugee toddler who died at sea. 

Any suggestions that PiS and the Polish Catholic church are not helping refugees were nonetheless strongly rebuked in Poland's right wing media. Several websites pointed towards the Polish Government's funding towards aid programmes helping refugees living in the middle east, as well as work that the Caritas charity is doing in the region.


The organisers of the mass rosary were also angered by articles from the likes of the BBC, which referred to the event as being "controversial". Given that the event has been subject to some debate, it doesn't seem out of the question to use the word. Even so, its use was enough to generate a swave of negative articles about the BBC in Poland's Catholic media. 

Since the rosary took place, many of those who took part have refuted the idea that the prayer was anything to do with showing opposition to "Islamisation". They claim that the rosary prayer was merely a "prayer for peace" that was only held on the 7th of October to commemorate the day of Our Lady of the Rosary.

However the mass prayer's official website, rozaniecdogranic.pl, somewhat contradicts that claim by highlighting the "victory of the Christian fleet over the Muslim fleet" that took place in the battle of Lepanto in 1571. Several media outlets, including the aforementioned BBC, also contain quotes from rosary prayer participants who actively spoke out against Muslim immigration.

Gregor Gowans

The founder and editor of Wroclaw Uncut, Gregor has been running the website since its inception in 2012. A Wroclawian for almost 10 years, Gregor writes on a wide variety of topics including, food & drink, nightlife, local news and politics. He is also a regular guest on Radio Ram's Sunday lunch programme.

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